Makes you love writing even more. You want to create characters and plot and scenery that evokes the same gleeful feeling you get when you read a new great novel. On that note, here are eight things that I loved about Wildefire by Karsten Knight, which I purchased yesterday at the lovely Brookline Booksmith and read today in between walks with the doggies and a trip to the gym (kill me). I will also put a one-sentence review up on that page by tomorrow.
1. The GORGEOUS cover. It is a wow cover, and unlike a lot of covers on the market today (good or bad) it actually does evoke the story itself.
2. A wonderfully written female protagonist, Ashline Wilde - and she was written by a guy! I prefer to identify with the main character; I need to like him or her. A lot of really good books have characters who exist in perpetual shades of gray and so you find yourself unable to truly warm to them. I can appreciate those stories, but a book only sings to me when I adore the person whose story I am experiencing.
3. The character names were so fun and varied- Ashline is a name I've never heard before and it's so pretty. The names were a mix of common and completely unusual- Bobby Jones meet Colt Halliday.
4. This is a debut novel from a local author (Karsten Knight lives in Boston just like me!) and knowing that gives me hope. Also, his agent is Mary Kole, who did not sign me, but sent me a really nice email. Yay for nice emails!
5. There are a lot of characters but all of them felt well-rounded and had purpose. I did not feel like there were any throwaway scenes or characters- they all advanced the story and I felt like I knew enough about each one to care about his or her place in the novel. Also, the characters did not simply fall into predictable patterns (hello- especially on the last page!!), but neither were they studies in contradiction. Some characters had surprising revelations, but nothing happened that had me scratching my head thinking, that was out of character.
6. The teenaged characters seemed like teenagers. Sure, some of them turned out to actually be gods and goddesses reincarnated, but still- they swore, they drank, they had moods- they were teens. The fact that Ash still cared about winning a tennis match despite things like just finding out she was a volcano goddess was wonderful. I like it when an urban fantasy keeps its non-fantasy elements very realistic. I think it makes the fantasy portion of the story pop that much more.
7. This line: "This is kind of like a really shitty version of The Breakfast Club, huh?" Hee and swoon!
8. It's a great story plain and simple (although nothing about the book is either of those things). It felt fresh and exciting and I devoured it. The ending certainly left the door wide open for a second novel so I wait with bated breath for the continued story of Ash Wilde